Well that was a bit ugly at times, nerve-racking at the end, but all that really matters is that the Houston Dynamo are returning home for the second leg of their Eastern Conference semifinal against the Philadelphia Union with a 2-1 lead.
The first 8 minutes of the game were wild. Danny Cruz gets Nigel de Jong'd by Gabriel Farfan, the Dynamo score on the ensuing set piece, only to have the defense melt down a minute later as Sebastien Le Toux equalized.
The tackle by G. Farfan was reckless and the fact that Jair Marrufo and his AR both though it was a yellow card is just another example of the shambolic state of officiating in this league. We've seen terrible decisions all weekend and we'll continue to see it the rest of the playoffs...and next season...and the season after that. Enough of that, though Marrufo wasn't done being a shitty referee.
The Dynamo poured on the pressure as the first half went on and finally broke through after several good chances in the 30th minute. Brian Ching put a nice pass through a gap in the Union defense which Calen Carr ran on to and calmly put past Faryd Mondragon. That would be the last of the scoring, but not the last of the chances.
Tally Hall was massive in the second half, making several huge saves to preserve the Dynamo lead while Mondragon was equally strong, preventing the Dynamo from taking an even bigger advantage back to Houston.
Probably the only complaint I have about the Dynamo performance is not really something to complain about. After controlling the game in the first half, the Union were able to dominate the second half and keep Houston under near constant pressure for a majority of the 45 minutes. However, you knew the Union would push forward being a goal down and given how much Kinnear feared the Union speed on the counter attack (and rightfully so), being more defensive on the road with a lead wasn't the worst decision...and since it worked, who cares!
The Dynamo now will just have to take care of business at Robertson Stadium in the mid-week and a birth in the Eastern Conference Finals will be theirs. Not a bad spot to be in.